800 miles, 20 years – 2

Familiar Welcome sign!

Familiar Welcome sign!

I had a good dinner at the Q Center, with many of the folks gone for the weekend the crowd at dinner was meager at most. I got back to the room and turned on the TV. Not sure what was going on but I didn’t keep it on for long. I went to sleep and woke up early. With a full day ahead, I knew it would have to kill time to pass the weekend. I decided to take the baton and drive to Michigan. My plan was to visit Grand Rapids and look around and be back late for dinner.

I had a quick breakfast – I remember I was the first for the day.2016-09-17_143710106_b055a_ios I packed a bottle of water, a few slices of banana bread and a couple of bananas. I was thinking this might save me some stops. When I started driving away it was around 7:30. The roads on the Saturday morning were hardly alive. As I got onto I-88, I saw the signs for the toll booth. It was too late to see the signs for the cash lane and I drove through the automated lanes. I barely saw the board saying I could pay unpaid tolls online, which was a relief. At the next booth, I drew up some cash and got some coins in return for the change. As I got onto I-90S and got onto 80-E, things started coming back to me. We had taken the trip from Grand Rapids to Chicago many-a-time. South Bend, IN was right around the bend of the lake shore. The traffic had started to thin down and the sun was shining strong on a fantastic weekend day.

2016-09-17_150918354_71498_iosSeeing signs for the state of Michigan started it all. The aura of the yester-years was strong around here. Making the first stop at the rest house, it is hard to miss the model light house and the flag of the state of Michigan. This rest house would certainly would have had stops. The rest area had maps of the many sand dunes in the state. As the drive continued, the broad speedways of Michigan unfolded. The opposing lanes are pretty distanced from each other and that is the hallmark of the expressways in Michigan compared to what I have seen. This is great as during the dark the lights from the vehicles in the opposing lanes don’t both you so much.

Soon I was passing South Haven and Holland was close. Holland is a charming lake side town. We had been there many times most notably to see the Tulip festival during the beginning of May marking the start of Spring. It is the town where descendants from the Netherlands settled down and you can see the iconic windmills. Driving through the main street you get the sense you are in the middle of a European city. The lake side is impeccable with a huge rest area and shops. The beach is pristine and the wind was already evident. Imagine what it could be in the middle of winter. I could see the waves forming spires and could feel the spray as I walked on the stone embankment. I had taken a video of the place and I recalled the wind howling from the video. Surely during peak winter, the beach would be cordoned off. The lighthouse was still the same and I caught a glimpse of a boat watering down the canal. The baby face wrapped up in a monkey scarf/cap turning away from the winds floated in front of me. The residential community over on the nearby hills was still the same. It was as though time never passes but we pass through time.

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